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How to Install Nucore Flooring

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How to install scratch resistant Nucore luxury vinyl plank flooring in any room with tips on how to easily cut vinyl plank flooring to fit perfectly around doorways.

When it comes to home decorating or doing a room makeover, I, like many of you… want to jump right in and get things done pronto!  For my studioffice, I did just that by laying a new floor the day after we moved into our house.

This floor was the very first DIY home décor improvement project we made to the lake house.  We loved it so much, even more than hardwood, that we also used it in two bathrooms, a hallway and laundry room.

Update: Find out how well the floors have held up after 6 years in this post:

We also have installed different luxury vinyl plank flooring brands in the game room and wood laminate flooring in my bedroom.  We have become pretty good at installing luxury vinyl planks and wood laminate flooring.

All of these vinyl flooring options are what is called a “floating floor” where no adhesive is needed. It is also the easiest to install from a DIY perspective.

Before and after luxury vinyl plank flooring makeover for a home officeHow to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Room

I can live with old and outdated fixtures in the house as long as they are functional, but I have a hard time living with wall colors I don’t like and old wall-to-wall carpeting that is stained.

The best time to change both are when there is no furniture in the room which was the case when we first moved into the house.

Home office decorating ideas

We painted the walls first using the wall-to-wall carpet as a drop cloth. Once the walls were done, we removed the carpet to install the new flooring.

When it came time to set up my studioffice in the lake house, I knew I needed flooring that would be easy to clean and maintain. 

Tutorial on how to install a NuCore vinyl plank floor
Nucore Vinyl Plank Flooring – 6.5mm

I bought the Nucore vinyl flooring at Floor & Decor where they sell tile, stone, wood, and laminate all at discount prices. I came across this NuCore waterproof luxury vinyl plank flooring that has a cork underlayment backing.

What I really liked about it though was how much it looks like real wood, it even has texture and best of all scratch proof.

What is Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?

If you are not familiar with this type of flooring, luxury vinyl plank flooring is made to look like wood and that goes together in a snap… literally… each plank snaps into the next. This type flooring is also known as a floating floor that can go right over the subfloor or existing flooring like tile and linoleum.

What Makes Nucore LVP Different from Other Brands?

As mentioned above, NuCore is a brand of luxury vinyl plank, known as rigid core. It is constructed in several layers (a bit like laminate flooring) with a resistant wear layer on top, followed by a decorative design layer (a wood or stone image), then a vinyl layer adhered to a waterproof rigid core made of plastic composite, and finally a cork backing that serves as underlayment.

All of the layers that are used to construct NuCore are 100% waterproof, and NuCore say that the top wear layer is not only scratch and satin resistant, but anti-microbial too.

NuCore waterproof flooring is available in a range of sizes, with wood look planks in 47.95” lengths and widths 3” to 8”, and stone looks in 12” x 24” tiles. Plank thickness is either 5

The cork backing makes the ease of installation even easier since you do not have to put a liner down on the floor first.

NuCore Waterproof Flooring comes in many colors. I chose Gunstock Oak (it has a wood texture on the surface) since I like medium dark floors with white walls for my home’s interior.

I also like that it has a casual look and texture that looks like real wood.  It is hypoallergenic, waterproof, and the cork backing is sound resistant. The best part though.. it is a DIY’ers dream since installing it is very easy and comes with warranties.

Before and after flooring makeover

Before we put all the furniture in the room we ripped up the carpet the second night after we moved in.

FLOORING INSTALLATION TIP: Putting in the floor was easy once we knew what we were doing.

  • Practice on a few planks first to get the idea on how the planks snap together and also how to cut them.

What You Should Know Before You Start to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

This brand, NuCore Waterproof Flooring does not have to acclimate to the room temperature.  Once you bring the boxes into your house, you can start installing it right away.  I have listed below what we needed to do before installing the floor.

Measure the square footage of the room and double check your measurements.

How do you know how many square feet to buy?


If you don’t trust your calculations, head to the Floor & Decor website and choose the flooring you like. You will see a dropdown link that says – Calculate My Square Footage that will do it for you.

Installing a floating vinyl laminate floor

Like most projects… it is all about the “prep work”. Once you have these addressed, you can install the floor in a day…it is that easy.

  • When installing a floating floor, there needs to be about a 1/2″ – 1″ of space left all around the room between the flooring and the wall so that the flooring can expand.

How to Figure Out the Plank Width Cut Lengths for the First and Last Row of Flooring:

Laying a vinyl floor
  • You also have to be sure that if you start with a full width in the first row that you don’t end up having to cut the last row of planks too thinly or they won’t lay correctly.
  • The first row of planks may each need to be cut along the entire plank width before installing. Ed did these calculations so the last row would still be wide enough to snap in while leaving an inch for expansion.

How to Actually Cut the Luxury Vinyl Planks that Needed Resizing?

The other part about laying the luxury vinyl plank flooring that we had to think about before starting was how to cut the vinyl planks. The directions on the box stated to cut the vinyl planks with a utility knife.

Ed tried this and it was just about impossible, even with brand new sharp blades. He ended up using a circular saw to cut the planks.

How to Cut and Fit the Vinyl Planks Around Doorways Where There Were Not Straight Edges?

supplies needed to install a vinyl plank floor

This was tricky around the doors, but a Dremel rotary tool with a cutting blade on it helped to fit the planks around doorways.  We used quarter-round molding to hide the inch gap that was left between the flooring and the walls.

Note: I wish we knew about this handy gauge when we installed the flooring. It would have made detailed cuts around door, much easier.

What Direction Do You Lay Luxury Vinyl Planks?

NuCore vinyl plank floor tutorial
  • We read the directions on the box and learned that to lessen the visibility of the snap together long joints between the planks, we needed to lay them so that the snap together joints were laying in the same direction as the sun or light source that comes into the room. The short end sides will run parallel with the light source which in my case is the sliding glass doors.
supplies needed to install a floating floor

How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

supplies needed:

  1. Clean the floor well to make sure all dust, dirt, and previous fasteners (such as nails and carpet tack strips) are gone before installing the floor.
How to install a vinyl floor

2.  Lay down the first few rows and make sure they are straight. Double check and straighten if needed. Once you know the planks are running straight, proceed with laying and snapping the planks together. This will go very quickly since there is no glue or nails needed. If needed, you can tap the side of planks with a rubber mallet get them in place.

Note: When cutting the planks, vary where you put the cut piece from the last row into the next row so the plank lengths are random all over the floor. You don’t want to see repeating seams/joints in the same places.

Installing quarter round to finish laying new flooring

3. Use primed quarter-round or base shoe molding to finish the edges of the flooring where it meets the wall all around the room. If the gap between the wall and last plank is larger than a piece of base shoe molding will cover, use quarter-round molding as it will cover a wider gap. 

adding quarter round to a floating floor

Attach quarter-round or base shoe molding with finishing nails.

How to finish a floating floor

For the doorway where the flooring transitions to another type of flooring, I cut a wood doorway transition strip to the width of the opening. I will stain this to match the floor.

These strips are made to transition from wood to vinyl or carpet. They are sold at the home improvement store or where you buy flooring.

Now that the flooring is installed, my next project is to prime and paint all the existing brown trim in the room white.

About how long does it take to install the flooring?


Installing the floor will depend on the size of the room. Ripping up carpet and prepping the room can take longer than laying the floor down. Laying the planks goes quickly as they snap into place. What takes more time is when you need to stop to cut a board. For an average size bedroom it will take about 12 – 16 hours.

Can NuCore go on stairs?


We did not use it on a staircase, but there are workarounds using trim molding and coordinating stair noses that are sold at Floor & Decor.

How to Clean a NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank Floor?

  • To clean a NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank floor I have used both a Bona Mop with their original cleaning solution and a Swiffer Wet Jet Mop with the Open Window Fresh Scent cleaning solution.
  • Since I own the two brands of cleaners and mops, I use both, but one is not better than the other. Either will do the job. They both spray just enough cleaning solution and the pads on the mops wipe up any excess, so there is no standing water ever on the floor.

Want to see the completed AFTER of this room?  You can see it in this post: Studioffice Makeover – AFTER Room Tour

craft room storage ideas

We loved everything about this NuCore luxury vinyl plank flooring that we also used it in two bathrooms, a hallway and laundry room.

You can see the BEFORE and AFTER photos in each of these posts:

Before you install a vinyl plank floor in your home make sure you do these 4 things first. Once you do, the time to install the floor can be done in an afternoon.

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95 Comments

  1. Great post.
    Question: when you say the joints should be parallel to the light source, are you meaning the short joints between the pieces in a run (from one wall to another)? It looks like the length of the boards –and their joints—are perpendicular to the glass doors, (which i would call the light source) instead of parallel. The short joins look to be on the parallel. I hope my explanation of the question is understandable.
    I’ve been wanting to tear up my 40 year old wall to wall but the price of wood flooring is prohibitive for a house i want to sell. You give me hope the nucore will do for the living and dining room, at least. It looks like the girlfriends can do my math for me and get the floor installed. Going to look up the price and where to buy, Thanks for your help with my question. And for such a good tute.

    1. Hi MJ – I totally get what you are asking. ;-) I am going to edit the post to make it clearer. Ed and I went back and forth to the words I used to describe the lengths, widths, etc. Since he did it, I went with his explanation, but I think he is looking at it wrong.

      Here is my way of saying what we did: You want the long sides of the planks (sides that snap together) to run in the same direction that the sun comes in. You do not want these joints going across the way the light comes into the room. The short ends of each plank will be parallel to the door/window where the sun comes into the room. If you look closely, you can see some of these short end joints, but you don’t see any of the long side snap together joints.

      I hope this clears things up.

      1. I get it now. Terminology is everything! LOL
        Guess my SO will be helping me do the DR floor to start.
        Appreciate your careful attention to my question. TKU.

    2. Hi MJ, hope I can help out regarding your question. I’m an interior designer, and love watching Diane’s projects she is so passionate in sharing with others. I love how her projects show real life problems, solved with creative thinking.
      I hope I can answer your question for you….
      The light source if you go back to the photo Diane provided, shows the sun coming into the room from glass doors to the opposite wall…how that source comes into the room, should be the same way the planks lay, direction wise…so she laid the planks where the lines of connection go from glass doors to the wall opposite, this is to ensure that the light will go along those lines, and not against it….
      I hope this helps!!

  2. I installed laminate in my Studio/Office as well and have been very pleased. I got mine at a clearance price so didn’t get to choose such a nice color, but it’s so easy to clean up after one of my creative urges!

  3. You have once again come to my assistance. My dining room is a wood floor but not finished. I was thinking of painting a rug on it but after seeing what you did I believe I will be researching a place to buy what you did. I like the “frame of 1/4 round you did. I am so happy for you and Ed again that you found your perfect place.

  4. I’m not an expert so pardon me if this is a silly question, but why wouldn’t you prime and paint the trim and the room before installing the floor to lessen the chance of spilling paint on to it?

    1. Hi Alicia – No question is a silly question :-) My husband Ed had time to install the floor a day after we moved into the house. He does not paint, I do all the painting and was sick when we moved in and could not get the painting done before he installed the floor. I didn’t want to lose the window of opportunity to get this floor installed and knew I could paint the trim later. :-)